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Science 291 (5510): 1983-1987

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Filopodial Calcium Transients Promote Substrate-Dependent Growth Cone Turning

Timothy M. Gomez,*dagger ddagger Estuardo Robles,ddagger Mu-ming Poo,§ Nicholas C. Spitzer

Filopodia that extend from neuronal growth cones sample the environment for extracellular guidance cues, but the signals they transmit to growth cones are unknown. Filopodia were observed generating localized transient elevations of intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) that propagate back to the growth cone and stimulate global Ca2+ elevations. The frequency of filopodial Ca2+ transients was substrate-dependent and may be due in part to influx of Ca2+ through channels activated by integrin receptors. These transients slowed neurite outgrowth by reducing filopodial motility and promoted turning when stimulated differentially within filopodia on one side of the growth cone. These rapid signals appear to serve both as autonomous regulators of filopodial movement and as frequency-coded signals integrated within the growth cone and could be a common signaling process for many motile cells.

Department of Biology and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tmgomez{at}facstaff.wisc.edu

dagger    Present address: Department of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

ddagger    These authors contributed equally to this work.

§   Present address: Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


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